Men should wear roses. This is a fact – a non-negotiable reality and I will not be considering any other viewpoint at this time. In truth, men do wear roses, especially in the Middle East, where such things are the norm however, over here I think there’s a touch of reluctance for many men to consider wearing something that leans feminine. Toxic masculinity’s a bitch, right? Anyway, Maison Francis Kurkdjian want to make rose-wearing acceptable for the menfolk – to give them the power to wear a rose – and their latest launch, L’Homme À la Rose is a great start on this noble quest for rosiness.
Created as a masculine counterpart to Kurkdjian’s popular À la Rose, L’Homme is described by the brand as a “free interpretation of rose“. It is not the brand’s first masculine rose (the first being Lumière Noire Pour Homme) but it’s perhaps their most intriguing, presenting the masculine rose in a fresh guise that does not shy away from being pretty. That’s right, gents can (and should) feel pretty too and I have a good feeling that L’Homme À la Rose may be just the scent to help with that.
Grapefruit Accord, Essence of Damask Rose from Bulgaria, Essence of Sage from France, Amber Woods, Absolute of Centifolia Rose from Grasse and Essence of Cistus from Spain
Francis Kurkdjian (obv.)
How Does it Smell?
L’Homme À la Rose opens crisp and dewy with a stem-like freshness. Instantly there is a refreshing blast of juniper, with its sharp, silvery and herbal quality that brings a crystalline, gin-like clarity to the proceedings. The grapefruit accord presents itself as a slightly juicy and acidic flash right at the very beginning. It feels almost like the “ta-dah” moment that marks the arrival of the fragrance right before it is revealed to the world. After this short-lived pyrotechnic display of citrus we get the rose.
Now, I love rose, it’s true. It does not take much for me to go all gooey-eyed and pathetic over a lovely rose scent and L’Homme À la Rose is no exception. But where I’m usually dribbling over a tart, ruby red and jammy rose, L’Homme’s rendition of the flower is much paler, transparent and light. It smells like crisp white roses with glassy petals that one can almost see through. It’s almost as if L’Homme À la Rose takes an olfactory image of a pink rose but pulls the saturation way down, reducing the colour and allowing for the clarity of petals and stems soaked in dew to stand out. The impression is delicate, white, ripe and green, with strange nuances that are vegetal and herbal. I like.
One question is how does L’Homme À la Rose differ from its feminine counterpart, À la Rose, and for me there is a clear distinction between the two. Both share a light, crisp quality, but the masculine is drier, more green and less fruity. The airier, more stemmy and leafy aspects of the rose are prominent here and there is less emphasis on the citrus or berry notes. The whole thing feels incredibly easy and this breeze of rose is the perfect thing to wear with a casual white tee and jeans.
As it dries down, L’Homme À la Rose becomes less of a rose fragrance and more of a rose water. It’s in the base that it feels like the drops of dew removed from the rose and smelled in isolation, with just a hint of the flower in the background. There’s a touch of soft wood and a lot of luminous, velvety white musks presented in that signature Kurkdjian style (his fragrances often feel as if they are powered by musks). It’s soft, supple and subtle. Overall, sillage is good – it certainly radiates from the skin well, but as you imagine, the trail is not heavy or oppressive, it’s fresh and clean. Longevity is above average.
So, what’s the verdict? Am I going to go gaga for this rose, as I always do? C’mon, you already know the answer – of course I am! You see here, you have the added facts that Francis Kurkdjian is one of my favourite perfumers, and Maison Francis Kurkdjian is one of my most-loved brands. So yes, it’s love. I enjoy L’Homme À la Rose not for its masculine intent (it honestly feels genderless) but for its wonderfully crisp (I’ve said crisp a billion times in this review but it really is the word), green and fresh take on rose. L’Homme À la Rose is like a pale rose cologne and there is most definitely a space for that in my fragrance wardrobe. I am totally gooey-eyed for it and I shall not apologise.
L’Homme À la Rose is available in 35ml and 70ml Eau de Parfum.
Images are my own. Sample (full bottle) sent by brand for review. I was not paid for this review and the brand had no say in the content.